Kataria denies any role in Sohrabuddin case

Special Correspondent
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Gulab Chand Kataria
Gulab Chand Kataria

Former Rajasthan Home Minister and senior BJP leader Gulab Chand Kataria has alleged the hand of some party leaders in dragging his name into the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case now being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation. However, he refused to give out the names.

After the arrest of Amit Shah, Gujarat Minister of State for Home and close aide of Chief Minister Narendra Modi, reports have been doing the rounds about the possibility of CBI issuing summons to Mr. Kataria and former BJP general secretary in charge of Gujarat Om Prakash Mathur for questioning.

“This is an attempt by some of the leaders of my own party to tarnish my image,” said Mr. Kataria, who is the BJP strongman in the Udaipur region. “Once the truth comes out, everything will settle on its own.”

Mr. Kataria belongs to the RSS lobby within the BJP. He has held the post of the State BJP president in the past. “At least in my case more than the Congress it is the people of my own party who are after me,” he said when asked about the BJP allegation of misuse of the CBI by the Congress.

Mr. Kataria who had gone to Gandhi Nagar on April 25, 2007 along with the then Home Secretary of Rajasthan to pursue the release of M.N. Dinesh -- the then Udaipur SP and an accused in the Sohrabuddin case -- is now busy denying any role in the encounter. “These are all baseless lies. Not 100 per cent, but 101 per cent lies. One day the truth will come out,” a seemingly furious Mr. Kataria told media persons who contacted him in the past two days.

According to reports in local media here, Mr. Kataria's name figured in the statement made by Azam, a Sohrabuddin aide, during his questioning by the CBI. One such reference reportedly mentioned that a leading marble business firm in the country—based in Rajasthan-- had allegedly paid Rs.10 crore to Mr. Kataria to “do away” with Sohrabuddin. “I had zero involvement in the whole episode. It is true that I went to Gandhi Nagar along with the Home Secretary and the DGP. Once we understood the real situation we returned,” he said.

Mr. Kataria has also refused to acknowledge any knowledge of Sohrabuddin trying to extort huge amounts from the State's businessmen dealing in textiles and marble in the past. “I have never come across any such complaints from anyone during my tenure as Home Minister,” he asserted.

State BJP president Arun Chaturvedi confessed ignorance over any party leader trying to malign Mr. Kataria in the case. “I have not received any complaint from Mr. Kataria in this regard,” he said on Friday.

Rajasthan Home Minister Shanti Dhariwal has chosen to remain silent for the time being. However, he revealed that the CBI so far had not contacted the State Government in connection with questioning any officer or political leader.



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